World-Gen Volume 27 No 1 - page 15

The nation’s first new waste to energy
power plant to be built in twenty years is
being constructed by Babcock & Wilcox
and its consortium partner KBR on a 24
acre greenfield site for the Solid Waste
Authority of Palm Beach. SWA is a gov-
ernmental agency with 400 employees
governed by seven elected County
Commissioners of Palm Beach County
and is funded by user fees through an
annual property tax bill on the county’s
1.4 million residents and businesses.
B&W and KBR are sharing the design
and work scope, while B&W will exclu-
sively perform the operations and mainte-
nance for the 95 megawatt facility expect-
ed to come online in Q-1-15. Florida Power
and Light has a 20 year power purchase
The new plant referred to as PBREF#2
can process a million tons of municipal
solid waste annually producing electricity
and reducing the waste sent to the coun-
ty’s landfill by up to 90 percent. (Landfills
generate methane which is 21 times more
potent of a greenhouse gas than carbon
dioxide.) B&W will supply three mass
burn boilers, grates, ash and metal recov-
ery systems and emissions control equip-
ment with KBR providing the balance of
plant equipment and construction services.
The new plant employed about 700 during
construction, will have 175 permanent staff
and will also include a LEED Platinum
Visitors Center.
The plant is adjacent to SWA’s 52
megawatt PBREF#1 built by B&W and
Bechtel in 1989. The Stirling boilers were
replaced in 2010. “We’d typically do
860,000 tons; after the refurbishing, we did
900,000 tons,” said Bill Arvan. B&W’s oper-
ations and maintenance contract was
extended to 2029.
Arvan, a chemical engineer who holds
an MBA from Florida Atlantic University,
explained the operation of the WTE plant
and conducted a tour for
point out the differences between Refuse
Derived Fuel in PBREF#1 and the Mass
Burn for PBREF#2. “On mass burn facili-
ty’s, recovery of non-ferrous and ferrous
metals is performed post-combustion. This
differs from an RDF facility in which fer-
rous and non-ferrous metals are recovered
both during the processing of MSW into
RDF and post combustion,” Arvan shared.
“The fuel arrives on the tipping floor
from six transfer stations hauled by SWA
tractor trailers subject to 80,000 lb road
limits. SWA receives about 500 loads a day
or 1,000 trips daily,” he said. Three proce-
dures take place in the Refuse Derived
Fuel (RDF) preprocess to remove hazard-
ous materials, household materials and
appliances before the conveyor carries it to
the shredder. Overhead magnets sort out
ferrous metals, recyclables and coins
before going into the two Stirling boilers,
he explained. The chemically inert bottom
ash is combined with fly ash and sent to
the landfill. Ferrous metals [contain iron]
are sold to Trademark Metals who essen-
tially nuggetize the material and ship it out
on rail cars,” he added. Non-ferrous mate-
rials are melted down and made into
ingots. Last year, SWA sold more than
79,000 tons of recyclables and recovered
coins accounting for $100,000. SWA has
recycled more than two million tons of res-
idential and commercial material that oth-
erwise would have been landfilled. In addi-
tion to recyclables, SWA recovers nearly
250,000 tons of clean vegetation annually
which is mulched and either composted,
processed into boiler fuel, or returned to
the land as a soil amendment.
In answer to a question, he said the
plant operates 120 hours a week and stores
the fuel on site, though the power plant is
operating 24/7.
The new facility will reduce 63 percent
less carbon dioxide, 94 percent less sulfur
dioxide and 62 percent less nitrous oxides
that the traditional coal fired power plant.
For every ton of municipal solid waste pro-
cessed, one barrel of oil or ¼ ton of coal is
saved and one ton of GHG avoided.
The facility will save 1.9 billion cubic
feet of natural gas annually.
As the EPA has specific emissions lim-
its for facilities that combust waste to pro-
duce energy, the Solid Waste Authority is
incorporating the most modern and most
sophisticated air pollution control systems
of any facility of its kind in the world.
All of the emission levels from the
PBREP#2 will be below the Federal
standards, with the performance of the
emissions control equipment guaranteed
by the manufacturers and by the facility
The State of Florida counts waste deliv-
ered to a Renewable Energy facility
towards the State’s 75% Recycling Goal,
and the State provides one ton of recycling
credit for each megawatt hour of energy
There’s a university-sponsored
research program under way investigating
the potential reuse of most or all of the ash
currently being landfilled, just like ash
from coal-fired power plants is used in the
manufacturing of concrete. If this research
proves successful, the life of the Solid
Waste Authority’s landfill will be dramati-
cally extended, bringing it closer to the
potential of zero landfill by 2046.
The SWA Conservation Area and
Rookery provides over 300 acres of
wetland habitat, harboring thousands of
Florida wading birds, as well as two
endangered species, the Snail Kite and the
Wood Stork.
There are 86 WTE Plants operating in
24 States.
General Facility Manager,
Babcock & Wilcox’s Palm Beach
Resource Recovery Corp.
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